Parish church of Our Lady of Candles, Kożuchów
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Parish church of Our Lady of Candles

Kożuchów

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One of the most valuable examples of historical sacred architecture in the Lubuskie voivodeship - a church dating back to Middle Ages, with historical décor elements and fittings.

History

According to a legend, the church was founded by Bolesław the Wrymouth. It is not know what the oldest church looked like. Historical sources from 1273 refer to a building erected around the mid-13th century. It was a three-nave structure which, however, was burned in 1339. From that building, fragments of gable walls of the main nave have survived, as well as a chancel and the lower section of the tower. In the years 1340-1369, a new church was built from the funds provided by Henry V of Iron. At that time, the interior was covered with a cross-rib vaulting, and the body - with a gable roof. On the northern side of the chancel, a tower was built. In the late 14th century and in the 15th century, chapels were added to the body, opening up towards the church’s interior through arcades. In the years 1523-1636, the building was managed by Lutherans. In 1488 and 1554, it was destroyed by fires. During the second fire, the vaults collapsed, and were rebuilt thereafter. At that time, the tower finial - a slender spire roof - was replaced by a crenellated parapet. In 1637, another fire destroyed the whole fittings of the church: Renaissance altarpieces, pipe organs, pulpit from 1616, sculptures, as well as the clock and bells. In 1725, a Baroque chapel, called Ogrójcowa, was built. In 1764, the roof was destroyed by fire. During the reconstruction, the tower was provided with a new eight-pitched tented roof.

Description

The parish church of Our Lady of Candles is a brick, three-nave building with a rectangular chancel. On the northern side, there is a sacristy covered with a lierne vault, on the western side - a porch, and on the northern and southern side - two rows of chapels with surviving cross-rib and stellar vaults, dated to the beginning of the 16th century. The interior of the body is covered with a groin vault. The church is reinforced by buttresses. Window openings feature pointed arches in their top sections. Also the crowing pointed-arch arcaded frieze on the façades has survived. The tower is square, with an octagonal section in the upper part, with pointed-arch openings and blind windows. It is topped with an eight-pitched stepped tented roof. The tented roof was installed after 1764. The body of the church is covered with three half-hip roofs. The oldest historical artefact inside is late-Gothic stone epitaph from the early 16th century, embedded in the floor of the eastern chapel. Elements of younger fittings include: a Rococo main altar with painted tabernacle, containing paintings: Baptism of Christ and Presentation of Jesus in the temple from the mid-18th century, and side altars of St John of Nepomuk, Crucifixion, and Our Lady of Częstochowa from the 18th century, as well as a Mannerist altar of the Last Supper, made in the first half of the 17th century. In the chancel, there are three oil paintings from the end of the 17th century, and in the chapel of All Saints, a wooden painted sculpture of Pieta is stored. Also the pipe organ built in 1840 by Ludwig Hartig is worth particular attention, as well as three neo-Gothic altars, and stained glass panes from the second half of the 19th century in the windows of the nave and the chancel. Also stucco strip decoration from the first half of the 18th century on the vaults has survived, and in the north-western chapel, there are surviving painted decorations. In the crypts, remnants of, among others, Katharina of Opole - widow of Henry VIII the Sparrow, as well as remnants of Henry IX and Henry XI are buried. On the external walls of the church, Renaissance and Baroque relief epitaph plaques dedicated to wealthy town residents are particularly interesting.

The building is accessible all year round.

compiled by Krzysztof Garbacz, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Zielona Góra, 23-03-2015.

Bibliography

  • Garbacz K., Przewodnik po zabytkach województwa lubuskiego, t. 2: Powiaty: żarski - żagański - nowosolski - wschowski, Zielona Góra 2012, s. 265-266, fot. 147.
  • Kowalski S., Zabytki architektury województwa lubuskiego, Zielona Góra 2010, s. 164-165, fot. 147.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: ok. poł. XIII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Kożuchów
  • Location: Voivodeship lubuskie, district nowosolski, commune Kożuchów - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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